INGALLS — There's very few secrets as to how coaches and teams prepare for opponents in their league.

Such has been the case this season between the girls teams at Deerfield and Ingalls.

The Santa Fe Trail League teams met Jan. 29 with Ingalls coming away with an 11-point win and Tuesday night, the result was the same, except the margin was smaller. Ingalls celebrated Senior Night with a 41-35 triumph over Deerfield, and likely earning a bye in the first round of the Class 1A regional tournament at Rolla.

"It was a fitting night for our seniors, starting all five of them and having them on the floor at the end," Ingalls coach Roger Thurlow said. "We're a little banged up right now, but we've been having people step up and do the things necessary for us to win."

Kayla Droste was one the seniors to step up. She recorded a double-double with 10 points and a game-tying high 12 rebounds. Droste managed just two points in the first half as the Bulldogs took a 19-15 halftime lead.

"He told me to slow down and to square up," Droste said of Thurlow's talk at halftime. "It was either that or sit on the bench. It was what I needed to hear. Coach has mellowed and I think that's a big reason we're all playing better. He's done a lot for us."

Droste's performance was sparked by eight points in the final quarter when she helped Ingalls build a 39-28 advantage with 2:10 to play, then held off a furious rally by Deerfield in which Hailey Novack and Bridget Crandall each hit a 3-pointer to pull the Lady Spartans within five and 39 seconds remaining. The Bulldogs managed just 2-of-6 free throws in the closing 48 seconds.

Thurlow said it was a credit to his team's defensive scheme that kept Crandall from doing more damage. Crandall did not hit a shot inside the 3-point line and had just one trey in the fourth quarter.

"We thought if we controlled Crandall's scoring and Smith's number of shots, that we would be in good shape," Thurlow said. "They remind me of us a year ago. They're young and they're going to be very good the next two years."

The teams battled to a 7-7 standoff in the first quarter before Ingalls finished off the second quarter on a 10-4 run.

Droste stepped her game up a notch in the final quarter.

"The effort and the scoring and rebounding were there," Thurlow said of Droste. "I got on her a little at halftime because she's so important to what we do. I think she responded well."

Ingalls closes out the regular season Friday at Rolla. Deerfield has completed its regular slate and awaits pairings for next week's regional.


Ingalls 41, Deerfield 35

DEERFIELD (7-13, 2-3) — Pettz 0-2 0-0 0, Soto 0-2 0-0 0, Crandall 1-7 7-11 10, Novack 3-11 0-0 7, Rivera 1-3 0-0 2, Vides 1-3 1-3 3, Smith 6-7 1-4 13, Freburg 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 12-38 9-18 35.

INGALLS (14-5) — Snyder 1-6 1-2 3, J. Droste 1-5 0-0 2, Littrell 3-8 1-3 7, Schmidt 3-8 0-0 6, Whipple 3-6 2-2 8, Dwyre 1-4 1-2 3, K. Droste 4-6 2-4 10, Estrada 0-1 0-0 0, Wendel 0-4 0-0 0, Bleumer 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 17-55 7-13 41.

Deerfield 7 8 7 13 -- 35

Ingalls 7 12 10 12 -- 41

3-point goals — Deerfield 2-10 (Crandall 1-5, Novack 1-4, Freburg 0-1), Ingalls 0-4 (Snyder 0-2, Schmidt 0-2). Rebounds — Deerfield 36 (Smith 12), Ingalls 36 (K. Droste 12). Turnovers — Deerfield 18, Ingalls 10. Fouls — Deerfield 17, Ingalls 18. Fouled out — None.